China’s Tencent and CDC Group invests US$70m in South Africa’s TymeBank

SOUTH AFRICA – Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings has invested in South African digital bank TymeBank.

UK’s development finance institution CDC Group has also invested, to take the bank’s series-B capital raise to US$180 million.

The investments from Tencent and CDC are valued at an additional US$70 million, TymeBank said in a statement.

The finalization of the investments is subject to normal conditions precedent and regulatory approvals.

Tyme, which has its roots in South Africa, is using the series-B funding to grow TymeBank locally and to fund GOTyme in the Philippines, where it has secured a digital bank license in partnership with Filipino conglomerate Gokongwei Group and said it may also expand into other markets.

This is the second time that Tyme has successfully concluded a capital raise in one year. Earlier in 2021, it secured US$110 million from a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP and JG Summit Holdings.

The first part of Tyme’s series-B raise was concluded earlier this year when it secured US$110 million from Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners, and the Gokongwei’s JG Summit Holdings.

“The investments will enable Tyme to use its digital infrastructure to accelerate the roll-out of financial services to TymeBank’s historic mass-market customer base. The two investors’ capital and expertise will also be used to improve Tyme’s ability to manage risk and support Tyme’s expansion into markets where CDC has a presence,” the bank said.

“The investments will enable Tyme to use its digital infrastructure to accelerate the roll-out of financial services to TymeBank’s historic mass-market customer base”

“CDC’s investment in Tyme in South Africa is part of its strategy to support businesses that provide vital infrastructure, such as digital financial services, to traditionally underserved groups.”

African Rainbow Capital remains Tyme’s majority shareholder.

TymeBank has acquired four million customers in 32 months since founding and has partnered with organizations like Pick n Pay and Boxer as well as the Zion Christian Church.

It also recently partnered with TFG (The Foschini Group) to diversify its customer base into higher-income segments and to provide a “viable pathway to responsible consumer lending”.

TymeBank has already acquired four million customers in South Africa and been expanding its product offering, launching a buy-now-pay-later credit product called MoreTyme and several other value-added services.

It currently has R2.8 billion (US$176.5 million) in retail deposits from customers sitting in its bank accounts and has attracted R33 billion (US$2.08 billion) in gross deposits since March 2020.

Tyme said the investment by Tencent and CDC represents a strong endorsement for both TymeBank and South Africa’s banking sector overall.

“This is a very welcome investment from Tencent and CDC. It is a clear vote of confidence in our digital banking offering as well as our leadership teams in South Africa, Singapore, and the Philippines,” said Coen Jonker, co-founder of Tyme.

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